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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

There's a new bill before federal parliament calling for housing to be considered a fundamental human right.

The bill, introduced by independent federal parliamentarians Kylea Tink and David Pocock, would require the government to create a 10-year National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

One part of the bill states housing should be considered a fundamental human right for all Australians. Here's how this would work.

Since its election in 2022, the Albanese government has had to fight political battles to pass its housing policies.

This includes the Housing Australia Future Fund: a $10 billion fund to provide an annual $500 million for social and affordable rental housing. It passed the parliament last year.

There's also the "Help to Buy" shared equity scheme. Under this scheme, 10,000 households a year would be eligible for a government equity contribution of up to 40% of the purchase price of a new home. It's yet to pass the parliament.

But many in the community continue to struggle with unaffordable rents, barriers to home ownership and rising rates of homelessness.

Housing and homelessness problems are complex because they crossover different areas of policy and different levels of government. There are many agencies that do housing policy.

But so far, the government has not had a clear plan. Its election promise to develop a National Housing and Homelessness Plan is still under development. And at the moment, it does not appear to be addressing important policy areas like tax and finance.

[...] Tink and Pocock have also taken up our research and turned it into the National Housing and Homelessness Plan Bill.

The bill would require the housing minister of the day to develop and implement a ten year National Housing and Homelessness Plan. This would mean taking a view of housing policy beyond three-year election cycles.

The legislation would also set some basic directions for the government's plan, including "ensuring that everyone in Australia has adequate housing," and "preventing and ending homelessness." This reflects the legislation's human rights-based approach.

The legislation would also require the housing minister to be collaborative and establish some new sources of information and advice for government. This includes a "consumer council," including people with experience of homelessness. This would operate alongside the existing National Housing Supply and Affordability Council: an independent group providing the government with expert advice. The consumer council would be able to escalate matters directly to the minister to ensure it's heard.

The existing government agency Housing Australia would be nominated as the lead agency assisting the minister with the plan. A new government officer, the National Housing and Homelessness Advocate, would independently investigate housing policy issues and monitor the progress against the plan. The housing minister would also be required to periodically report to parliament on progress.

At the end of the ten years, the minister would be required to review and develop a new plan.

Importantly, it would still be for the government of the day to decide what's in the plan. The legislation sets objectives and directions, but not policy details. The legislation does not say, for example, "thou shalt repeal negative gearing"! One government might devise a more market-orientated plan, while another might plan for greater non-market housing provision.

[...] The bill formally recognizes housing as a human right for two reasons.

First, it serves as the constitutional basis for the legislation. The right to adequate housing is a human right under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Australia ratified almost 50 years ago.

This brings it within the parliament's "external affairs" power. The parliament relied on this power and the human right to housing when it passed the original legislation establishing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (now Housing Australia). Basically, it gives the government the legal authority to make such a plan.

Secondly, an effective plan that's going to work across different policy areas and bring in the range of institutions needs a place to start. Human rights provides a way to organize the policy across all the different branches of government that need to be involved.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday July 10, @07:07PM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday July 10, @07:07PM (#1363681)

    >the way you deal with that is to hope that they die as quickly as possible?

    This is at the root of a lot of social services arguments. Whether it's housing, healthcare, rehab, disabilities services, special needs education, or whatever - the first question that should be asked and answered is: "are we just going to shoot them to put them out of our misery?" If you answer no, then the vast majority of arguments against funding for services must be directed at making their lives as miserable - and expensive - as possible.

    This is easily explained if those arguing against social services need to have a population they are "better than" so they can feel better about themselves.

    Personally, I'd rather be taken out and shot than tortured and ridiculed for decades, but since we mostly don't go for mercy killings: it's both more humane, and cheaper, to invest in social services at the root causes of need than it is to deny that funding and then deal with the tortured bodies and souls that result from such lack of funding.

    Paying $8000 per year for basic shelter plus $2000 per year for a social worker to come check on a previously homeless person is 10x cheaper than fixing healthcare problems that never would have happened if they had shelter, dealing with them in the criminal justice system because they can't hold a job, and the loss of productivity from them spending all their time dealing with being homeless. So, reducing the above argument further: homeless don't die 10x faster, only about 2x faster than people who have consistent reliable shelter, so overall you might expect to save 80% of the cost of the homeless by simply providing them shelter in the first place.

    https://community.solutions/research-posts/the-costs-and-harms-of-homelessness/ [community.solutions]

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday July 11, @02:33AM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Thursday July 11, @02:33AM (#1363717) Journal

    And thus you've uncovered the basis of "conservative" "thought" on the subject: they will pay more, and actively harm themselves, so long as "those people" suffer more. I am really mystified as to how anyone with two functioning brain cells can't see this about them.

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